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Frank Worthington: 1948-2021

23 March 2021

Preston North End were saddened to learn of the passing of former player Frank Worthington, who played in our 1986/87 promotion winning side.

Frank Worthington, an English football legend of the 1970’s/1980’s, sadly died on Monday 22nd March aged 72, in a Huddersfield hospital.

Frank, a showman, on and off the field, was a real class act who played to the ‘gallery’; the supporters of the game of football. 

With respect, when one thinks of some modern day footballers who have around 50 full international caps to their name and compare to Frank’s lowly eight caps, it really makes you wonder as to why! Maybe it was because he had the reputation for enjoying the ‘high life’ off the field but to be fair he could show flair and skill on the field of play as many thousands witnessed during his long playing career.

Frank, a naturally gifted, talented player, who liked to impersonate Elvis, had a great career from 1966-1987, scoring 266 goals (38 penalties) in his 882 league and cup games.

A man of many clubs he started with Huddersfield Town going on to represent Leicester City, Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Leeds United, Sunderland, Southampton and Brighton before joining Preston North End in February 1987 from Tranmere Rovers where he had been player/manager. By this time he was in his 39th year but North End manager John McGrath saw just what he could do for the Club at Deepdale.

He brought joy to so many people, as North End fans will testify who saw his goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers on his home debut for the Lilywhites but many fans will say that THAT goal for Bolton Wanderers against Ipswich Town, which can still be seen on YouTube, was even better. Even the referee applauded that one!

After gaining promotion with Preston North End he later joined Stockport County to finish his league career. Frank also played in America, South Africa, Sweden and Ireland as well as appearing for a few non-league teams including Chorley. After his eventual retirement he took to the after-dinner circuit as a popular speaker and also published his autobiography.

He will be sadly missed by fans all around the world and our condolences go out to his family and friends.

Ian Rigby

Club Historian


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